2006 is truly a special year for thousands of Filipinos now living in Hawai’i and my short stay in the island state is
as memorable as the locals especially when I became part of their celebrations.
came to me that I will be involved in the Filipino Centennial Celebrations until William Feltz, the Arts Coordinator of the
East-West Center sent an e-mail inviting
me to present the upland culture of northern Philippines
as a Visual Ethnographer. After having documented numerous rituals and customary practices of the various tribes in the Cordillera
for years, I can say now that it pays to treasure our tribal heritage. I have met Bill about twelve years ago and we have
exchanged emails and videotapes about the peculiar customary traditions of Hawai’i
the East-West Center Art Gallery Curator, Dr. Michael Schuster came to Baguio for
what seems to me an arts and carfts expedition. I gave him the necessary contacts and references and
he later proceeded to Sagada and Banaue to collect exhibit materials. Michael also met with the Tamawan artists and Tommy
Hafalla who contributed to the ongoing exhibit at the EW Gallery.
I also took
Michael to my office at DTI and his attention was caught by some contemporary products displayed in our One-Town-One-Product
corner. Together with native baskets that he got from Banaue that included a walking cane, the items are now on exhibit
at the said gallery.
my approved visa and official leave from my work, I enplaned to Honolulu
on the 7th of February and arrived on the same day despite the almost ten hours of flight. Juny La Putt, a retired
Philippine Army Colonel and a Civil Engineer who just retired from Honolulu Engineering Department met me at the airport and
drove me to the University of Hawaii
where EWC is located.
known as the Hawaiian Webmaster, Juny became my tour master for several days taking numerous digital shots of me including
our tour in Waikiki beach and the opening program at the EWC Gallery on February 12. Juny
started building websites as early as 1994 and he has helped promote the Philippine Military Academy and Baguio City in the world-wide-web among others.
With Juny’s long experience with HTML and internet publishing, I consider him as a website guru. In fact, he is in the
process of publishing his latest book on Web Page Development. Five of his earlier books on Surveying published by National
Bookstore are still widely used by Engineering students.
stint as filmmaker-in-residence at the East-West Center, I was lodged at the Lincoln Hall where I stayed for twelve days in a hotel like
accommodation complete with TV, telephone and fridge.
As a Visual
Ethnographer, (a title used during my tour) I showed clips and segments of my video documentaries on customary practices in
the Cordillera and had dialogues with students and exhibit goers. A 15 minute video on DVD was also played non-stop
in a 21 inch flat screen throughout the duration of exhibit period.
I was invited to
speak at the Kapi’olani Community Colleges where I had a good number of students taking up Anthropology. Raymund Liongson,
a commissioner of the Philippine Centennial Commission and a professor at the Leeward
Community College also invited me to speak before his 11-12AM and 1-2PM
to Hawaii was very timely as the school's curriculum had
a Philippine Studies Colloquium Series that discussed indigenous people’s culture.
At the offices
of Bill and Michael, a calendar was posted just for my schedules and it was heavily dotted with appointments.